Right now, an IndyCar race car is powered by an engine capable of producing between 550 and 750 horsepower. There's an additional 60 hp waiting in the wings with the Push-to-Pass feature. That's not enough, apparently. IndyCar drivers have been clamoring for more horsepower, and it looks like that wish is set to come true.
The current 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 is slated to run through the 2020 racing series. After that, according to NBC Sports, IndyCar is going to up the displacement to 2.4-liters. With Push-to-Pass enabled, the drivers will have over 900 horsepower at their disposal. And the forced-induction 6-cylinder engines will sing a mighty song up to the 12,000 rpm redline.
IndyCar plans to run these larger, more powerful engines starting in 2021. The series will continue to use them through the 2026 racing season. Engineers at Honda and Chevrolet are excited to develop these new racing motors, as it allows the automakers to align their marketing efforts, road car technology, and motorsports know-how to a greater degree.
Jim Campbell, who is General Motor's Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsport, says "The 2.4-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine formula that will be introduced for the 2021 season will continue to showcase relevant technologies that we incorporate in our production engines. The opportunity to transfer learnings in performance, reliability, and efficiency between the racetrack and the showroom is very important to Chevrolet."
Honda's President of Honda Performance Development Art St. Cyr adds "The new IndyCar engine formula should be exciting for the fans and an interesting technical challenge for Honda Performance Development. While the overall architecture remains similar to the current engine, the increased displacement will bring many changes, including a notable increase in power that should please all fans of the sport. In addition, it provides our designers and engineers with an opportunity for significant development, which is a challenge we welcome at Honda.”
IndyCar switched to a 2.2-liter V-6 back in 2012. That first version of the engine utilized a single turbocharger. Just two seasons later, the second turbo was added. Now the extra displacement will allow GM and Honda to push power output to new heights. With the cars already capable of hitting speeds as high as 240 mph at Indy, it will be interesting to see if the new engines deliver even greater top end speeds.
Regardless, the extra power will certainly afford more passing opportunities for the drivers, and more exciting racing for the fans.